It was an early start. The cycle group wanted to pick us up at 6:00am to take us to The Tahiti Sports Institute then on to Moorea Island for 3 days tourist adventures. The advantage of having a kitchen was we could prepare a good early breakfast – pawpaw, cereal and tea/coffee/drinking chocolate. We had a bag packed and loaded our bikes in small truck. We left the bike boxes and some items in the hotel storage room.
We were off to Tahiti Sport Institute. Traffic was bad after the long weekend and parents taking their children to school which starts are 7:00am and finishes at either 3:30 or 4:30pm. I gather school runs for 3 weeks per month with one week off. I think one afternoon per week is dedicated to sport.
There we meet another couple from NZ – Karen and Brent, who were representing NZ Road Cycling Magazine. I hope they find some interesting things to write about.
The next few hours was sitting around while the organisers of the cycle race had interviews and speeches which were reported and televised to France & locally, photos, all in relation to the coming event. With our group is a well know French Tour de France commentator who was welcomed and celebrated through out the week. The Tahitians, like the French, put a lot emphasis on promoting cycling events.
By 10:30 we were at the Ferry having a beer and later lunch. The ferry to Moorea was a large car ferry which took approx. 30 – 45 minutes. There were approx. 24 of us all together now – 1x Chilean, 2x Hong Kong, 6x French, 2x Wellingtonians, 2x NZ Cycling, 1x French journalist, 6-7 Locals plus the 4 of us. We were off on quad bike 3 hour excursion around the inter part of Moorea, visiting pineapple plantations, high points up and down steep tracks and low points through villages. This island again is very old volcano where the crater rim has worn away, creating a steep jagged mountain range covered in vegetation where it is able to grow, resulting in spectacular scenery. Here there is also one road around the island. 64 km circumference, ½ good and ½ not so good tarseal. Every one lives on the coast and none in the interior.
The four of us and the two Wellingtonians – Jo and Frank, stayed at the Hilton. Us with a lovely free standing unit with a private plunge pool each, while Jo and Frank on the bure over the water. They could step out of their unit, down the steps and have swim amongst the coral and fish. Our stay included 3x nights with breakfast.
That night the 6 of us had dinner at Hilton main dining area to celebrates Frank’s birthday.
We negotiated an 8:30am start for a cycle ride 1/2 way around Moorea. Debbie stayed behind to sit in the sun by the lovely fresh water pool. Although it is only 64 km around the island, part of the road is too rough for road bikes. Must come back here with our mountain bikes. There were 20 of us who biked back towards and pass the ferry terminal for about 30 km. The riding was fantastic when the road was quite, smooth and fast, with the warm breeze, sun drenched white sands, coconut palms and beautiful turquoise water glistening in the tropical sun. Often the road became potted holed and rough, causing a few flat tyres amongst our peloton, which was not so good. Dave had 2x flat tyres to go with the one he had in Papeete and was especially not happy when his bike went into a rather steep pot hole. We had many stops to enjoy the scenery, to wait for others to fix their flatties or just for the fun of it.
There was visit to pineapple juice factory on the way back. We had tour of the factory and tasting of various juices created. The factory have recently started producing and marketing a pineapple wine, which we all had a taste together with a lunch of rice and raw tuna.
Off back to hotel so that we could enjoy the amenities there including snorkeling in the warm ocean amongst the coral and fish. We could even swim to Jo and Frank’s bure to annoy them for a drink on their deck before locating some paddle boards and an attempt at paddling. Gave up and went kayaking even though they were a double, at least we knew how to do use them. Us 3x couples then proceeded to have kayaking races around the little bay – shouting and running into each other, which was later commented on by the staff of the hotel. This was mainly due to most of the guests at the hotel being honeymoon couples doing relaxed quiet activities. Even all the tables setup in the restaurants were for 2 people each. We had to ask to get table for 6 setup each time.
That night, all our group came to Hilton for banquet dinner and dance performance. There 28 people altogether by now. The food had an impressive number of ways to do fish, with different types and presentations of raw and cooked fish.